In my binge reading of Mimi Matthews books, I saved her first book as the last in my binge reading. I loved seeing how her writing evolved over the books and reading this one last was a treat.
While her writing might have evolved, all the hallmarks that make me love her books are evident in each and every book from the beginning. Snappy, humorous dialogue, elegant settings, memorable characters, and glorious romantic tension.
This book definitely had a Beauty and the Beast feel and I couldn’t get enough of it. Even though it was short (more of a novel length at just over 200 pages), it felt like a fully realized novel. Needless to say, I flew through it!
A PROUD BEAUTY
Society beauty Sylvia Stafford is far too pragmatic to pine. When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, she finds work as a governess in a merchant’s household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life–and her former love.
A SCARRED BEAST
Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia once fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited–and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.
A SECOND CHANCE
A week together in the remote Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily-ever-after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be? (summary from Goodreads)
I absolutely loved this book. For its length, I thought it worked really well for the two main characters to have a history already established. It was clear that at one point the two of them had romantic feelings for each other and it made their story so much more believable and it fit nicely into the length of this story.
Sylvia’s character was so enjoyable. She didn’t have the silliness of a young girl, though she was innocent, she had her own struggles and life experiences that have matured her beyond her years. I loved that quality in her. As for Sebastian, he was a total asshole the begin with. I didn’t even like him all together too much, but gradually her grew on me and in the end he turned into quite the hero.
I absolutely adored the was in which Sebastian declared himself. It was horribly romantic and I felt that it fit so nicely in the narrative. It was charming and dashing but yet fit their romance well.
I now see why historical romances can become so addicting! I love the happily ever after and drama in between and in this book Matthews shines with her writing, true to period descriptions, and above all, the romance!